100 - Classic Album; One Of The Best Of All Time
99-90 - Exceptional Work; Rush Out And Get This
89-80 - Very, Very Good; You Should Still Go Out And Get This
79-70 - Not Bad At All; Might Actually Be Worth Your Time
69-60 - Has Its Moments But On The Whole... Meh
59-50 - Won't Make Your Ears Bleed; Won't Make You Dance, Either
49-0 - Don't Waste Your Time; You're Smarter Than This (Probably)
Now... onto the review:
A friend of mine has a theory that any band - regardless of who they are - is only capable of a maximum of three good albums. Now, I don't necessarily subscribe to this idea but it's interesting to keep in mind as Spoon's three-record winning streak comes to an end with the release of Transference. Don't get me wrong, Transference is likely to be better than 80% of what's released this year but for the band that's responsible for Kill The Moonlight, Gimme Fiction, and Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga in succession over the past eight years, it's clearly not up to the admittedly lofty standards that Spoon has set for themselves and their fans. It's a very strange record and by strange I don't mean that Britt Daniel and company are tackling bizarre soundscapes and peculiar lyrics. No, Transference is a strange record in that, over the course of 11 tracks I can count over a half dozen highlights which, in normal cases, would make for a very good record. However, the whole of Transference ends up being much less than the sum of its parts. It's difficult to locate this record's soul. Part of the problem is that much of the experimentation of their previous records is gone in favor of a more minimalist type of approach. Sure, "Is Love Forever?" has elements in common with Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga's "The Ghost Of You Lingers" and "Out Go The Lights" is one of the most seductive songs that Spoon's recorded, but those are two of the only tracks that are trying something different. Songs like "The Mystery Zone" and "Trouble Comes Running" are paint-by-numbers, bordering on lazy Spoon. "Got Nuffin," which was originally previewed on last year's EP of the same name, is an example of using the time-honored Spoon formula to much better results and, had Transference mixed their experimental side with more tracks to the caliber of "Got Nuffin," we'd be looking at a laudatory album. Transference still gets a fairly decent score, but at the same time it ranks as one of 2010's early disappointments (albeit a slight one) for the sheer fact that Spoon has proven in the past that they're better than this.
RIYL (Recommended If You Like): Pavement; Tapes 'n Tapes; Ramshackle rock; Three chords; Vince Vaughn
Standout Tracks: "Got Nuffin"; "Out Go The Lights"; "Who Makes Your Money"; "Written In Reverse"
Dirty Rating: 78/100